Last modified on 5 July 2014, at 10:31

Using Wikibooks/How To Edit A Wikibook

Editing WikitextEdit

We have an entire book about Wikitext editing which covers all bases, not just those that are used here at Wikibooks. Check out Editing Wikitext for more information about how to edit existing pages and create beautiful new ones. (For a quick overview, see the Wiki-Markup section later in this book).

Why you should edit... People decide to edit Wikibooks for many different reasons, so it's tricky to try.

Some people, while reading, find a grammar error and it annoys them; they see it and they want it to be fixed, instead of waiting for somebody else to do it.

Nevertheless, it's faster and easier to just edit the page and do it yourself.

Some people really want to share the things that they know and help other students to learn for free versus buying textbooks on the web.

Some people edit because they are bored and want a constructive hobby.

Some people edit because their teachers are grading them!

There are even those whose job it is to create Wikis for their companies and this forces them to take a harder look at Wikis and through this they easily spot errors and feel inclined to correct them.

There are many reasons why people might edit, but the reasons don't really matter in the end. The important thing is that you are participating in the Wikibooks project, and that you have taken the first step to joining the Wikibooks community.

How to EditEdit

Almost all pages have a link at the top that says "edit this page". Click that link and it will take you to a page where you can edit and save the text of the page. We say "almost all" because some pages can be protected against being edited, for a variety of reasons. If a page has been protected, the "edit this page" link will be replaced with a "view source" link. You can view the source code of the text to see how it is written, but you cannot save any changes on protected pages.

When you edit a page, a text box will be displayed with the current text of the page already loaded in it. You can change or add things to the page, and when you are done, you can save it.

Clicking the Preview page button will show you a preview of the new page at the top, and will provide you with the edit window at the bottom. No changes will be saved if you preview.

Clicking the Save page button will save your changes, and display them on the page for anybody who reads it.

If you have just made a small edit, click the check box that says "This is a minor edit". This will record the edit as being a minor edit, and not one that other editors need to inspect carefully.

Edit SummariesEdit

The text box called "Summary" gives you an opportunity to explain what you did and why you did it. You do not need to write a summary, but it is considered good practice. If you just make a small edit, such as a spelling or grammar edit, you can write simply "copyedit" or "grammar" or "spelling". This is good enough. If you make a larger or more substantial edit try to write, briefly, what you did and why. That will help to keep other proof-readers on task when they come to check your work for errors.

When other readers and editors look at the page's history, they will only see your edit summary. This means that if a person wants to see how a page has changed, they can either read the edit summaries (if they are provided) or else they have to scan the page line-by-line looking for changes.

Plus, an edit summary is a good way to tell whether a person is a vandal, or if they are simply a new user who may be a little confused about policy. Writing an edit summary such as "I tried to fix something, but I dont know if i did it right", or even "I need help!" is likely to indicate that you are not a vandal, and it will also attract help from users who are watching the recent changes list.

Keeping Track of EditsEdit

There are a variety of ways that you can keep track of edits on Wikibooks. You can keep track of your own edits, edits to a particular page, and edits made by the entire community. We will discuss those things now.

Recent ChangesEdit

All the changes made by all Wikibooks editors on all pages are listed on the Recent Changes List. You can reach this list by clicking on the "Recent Changes" link in the "navigation" box on the left side of the screen. Here, you will see the changes made, in reverse chronological order, with the most recent change at the top of the list. Each change will contain the title of the page edited, the name of the user (or the IP address of the person, if they are not logged in), and various other data. Some of the other data that might be included are:

M or N
M means the edit was a minor edit. N means the edit is the first one on that page, and that the page is new.
(+123)
In parenthesis will be the number of characters have been added to or removed from the page. If the number is small, it was likely a small edit. If the number is large, it was a major change.
Edit Summary
The edit summary, if the person wrote one before they saved the page. Sometimes, if the person did not write a summary, an automatic one will be generated by the software.

My WatchlistEdit

If you have an account, and if you are logged in, you have access to a personal watchlist. Your watchlist is a list of pages that you want to keep track of. When you view your watchlist, by clicking the "my watchlist" link at the top of the page or by going to Special:Watchlist, you will see a listing of all the recent changes to the pages on your watchlist. These changes will be displayed in the same way as the edits on the recent changes list are displayed.

(If you don't have an account yet, see Setting Up A User Account).

There are a few ways to add a page to your watchlist. When you edit a page, there is a checkbox to "Watch this page". Checking that box adds the page to your watchlist. A second way is to click the "Watch" tab at the top of the page. A more advanced way is to go to the list at Special:Watchlist/raw, and add pages. In the raw watchlist view, you may add one page title per line, and as many pages as you want at once. However, keep in mind that spelling and capitalization count!

The Watchlist has a special feature: it only shows the most recent edit to each page, not every individual edit. That means if there have been 10 edits to a page since you last checked it, your watch list will only show the most recent edit, not all 10 of them.

The Watchlist tab in My Preferences contains a number of options concerning the use of your watchlist. You can set options to automatically watch pages that you edit, or pages that you create. This can be very helpful if you are creating a new book, and want to automatically add pages to your watch list as you create them.

History PagesEdit

Every page has an associated history page. To get to the history page, click the "history" tab at the top. The history tab is to the left of the "edit this page" link.

The history pages allow you to keep track of how a page changes over time. The history page shows the same information that the recent changes list and the watchlist show.

The history page also lets you view old versions of a page. In the history page, click the links to the different versions to see what the page used to look like.

RSS and ATOM FeedsEdit

The recent changes list, both to the whole Wikibooks site and to the history pages are available as RSS and ATOM feeds. Users who have RSS or ATOM aggregators may find this functionality useful.

There currently are no RSS or ATOM feeds for your personal watchlist, however. This is a known issue, and is one of the features most frequently requested from the software developers.

Live Edit FeedEdit

Users who are familiar with IRC may be interested in watching the real-time edit feed at irc://irc.wikimedia.org/#en.wikibooks. This feed shows, in real-time, all the edits and changes that are made, as they happen. This includes all the information that appears in the recent changes list, but is constantly updated.

In addition to the live feed, several members of the wikibooks community operate various patrol bots. These bots monitor the live feed looking for suspicious edits. These bots then report suspicious edits in irc://irc.freenode.net/#vandalism-en-wb. Users who are interested in becoming active vandal fighters tend to enjoy the irc interface.

Watching All Pages in a BookEdit

It is a common request for new authors to want to watch all pages in a given book. For some of our more prolific authors, they want to watch all pages in several books! There are several ways to accomplish this:

  1. Add all pages in the book to your watchlist. If you are creating a new book, go to Special:Preferences and check the box "Add pages I create to my watchlist". This will automatically add all the new pages in your book to your watchlist (but will not add pages other people create, automatically). If the book is an existing book, or if other people are working on it too, you might also want to check the box "Add pages I edit to my watchlist". This will automatically add pages that you edit to your watchlist. With all the pages on your watchlist, you can go to Special:Watchlist to see changes to those pages.
  2. Go to Special:RecentChangesLinked and type in the name of your book. If you add a forward-slash and the name of your book, you can create a direct link to this list. For example:

DiffsEdit

A "diff" is a special feature that can show you the difference between two versions of a single page. When you view a diff, the changes will be displayed at the top of the page, and the page content will be displayed below.

On the recent changes and watchlist pages, there will be a link next to each edit that says "(diff)". Clicking this link will show you the diff for that edit, showing you what changes have been made to the page. If you see an edit in the recent changes or the watch list that seems suspicious, look at the diff and make sure the edit is a good one.

In the history page, you are given more options. You can use the diff feature to compare any two page versions, not just the most recent edit. In the history page, select the radio buttons for the edits you want to compare and click the button Compare revisions.

If you are editing the pages, and you want to see the diff for your edit before you save it, you can click the Show changes. This will display the diff for the page that you can examine before you save.

CopyeditingEdit

One of the most valuable types of contributions are random copyedits to pages that contain errors. These edits can be short and quick, enabling editors to perform many such edits over a wide variety of pages in a short period of time.

Copyeditors all have different strategies. One way to go about it is to use Special:Randompage to travel to random pages across the wiki. This will expose the copyeditor to a large variety of different subjects and styles. However, since each book has its own style guidelines (many of which are implicit, not explicit), it is typically better for many copyeditors to use the "Random Book" function (on the left side of the screen, in the "navigation" box). This function will take the reader to the main page of a random book. From there, the copyeditor can traverse all the pages of the book, making sure that style guidelines, templates, and navigational tools are implemented in a common way.

Adding PagesEdit

These notes will explain how to add pages to a wikibook, and how to reference these pages from within the wikibook.

Moving and Renaming PagesEdit

Moving and renaming pages is a surprisingly common task. What is more surprising to many new users is how easy it is to do. Moving a page is as simple as clicking the "Move" tab at the top of the page. This will take you to the move-screen, where you are given the opportunity to specify the new name for the page and a short explanation for why it needs to be moved.

A common mistake is to try and move the page to the complete URL of the page. For instance if you had a page named "example" and you wanted it moved into the book called "My Book", you would move the page to "My Book/example", not "http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/My_Book/example".

A typical example of when a page needs to be moved is when a new user creates a new page in the wrong location. All pages should either be the first page of a new book, or they should be sub-pages of an existing book. Also, all book pages should follow the proper naming convention.

For more tips on *why* and *when* to rename a page, see How To Structure A Wikibook.

Moving a Page into a BookEdit

Moving a page into an existing book is an easy task. Click the "move" tab, and then enter the bookname, a forward slash, and then the page name, as such:

BOOKNAME/PAGENAME

In the description box, say something simple such as "moving to a book", and then click the Move page button.

Fixing the Naming ConventionEdit

Often times a new page will be created at "BOOKNAME PAGENAME", or "BOOKNAME:PAGENAME", or some other similar location that doesn't follow the proper naming convention. Fixing this is easy enough, all that needs to be done is the page renamed to "BOOKNAME/PAGENAME", with a forward slash between the book name and the page name, instead of a colon, space, dash, or other separator.

As a description, if you simply enter the term "nc", which is short for "naming convention", all other wikibooks editors will know what you did and why.

"Tagging"Edit

Throughout the rest of this book we're going to use the word "tagging" a lot. Wikibooks has a number of pre-defined templates that can be used to alert other editors and readers about good and bad things on a page. To use a template, put two curly brackets on ether side {{like this}}. That will include the text of the template at this point in the page.

Wikibooks has a number of templates that can be used on books and pages to indicate the quality of the book. To "tag a page" is to add an appropriate template or templates to the page so other people are aware of the same stuff you are. Some tags are good, such as those that mark new or rapidly-growing books. Some are less positive, marking books that need cleanup or expansion. Some are downright bad, like those marking a page for deletion. Here is a list of tags and what they are used for:


Task Related templates
Page nominated for RFD {{rfd}}
Page to be speedy deleted {{Delete}} {{Impending Doom}}
Page NPOV Violation {{npov}} {{Disputed}}
Page is a copyvio {{copyvio}} {{Unreferenced}}
Page needs general cleanup {{Cleanup}} {{Attention}}
Book follows wrong naming convention {{Cleanup-nc}}
Book might be created in error {{qr-em}}
Book is a stub and needs to be expanded {{Stub}} {{Expand}} {{Redlinks}}
Book needs to be merged {{Merge}} {{mergeto}} {{mergefrom}}
A page that isn't in a book needs to be moved into a book. {{Rename}}
Book needs to be moved or renamed {{Move}} {{moveto}} {{Transwiki}}
Book needs to be split into subbooks {{Split}}
Book needs to be split into subpages {{Subpages}}
Book is not categorized {{Uncategorized}}
Page is a duplicate {{qr-dup}}
Book needs more images or better formatting {{Images}} {{Formatting}}
Book looks like it's being written by a class or group {{Looks Like A Class}}

Advanced Techniques